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Trend and Cycles: A New Approach and Explanations of Some Old Puzzles

  • Tatsuma Wada
  • Pierre Perron

Recent work on trend-cycle decompositions for US real GDP yields the following puzzling features: method based on Unobserved Components models, the Beveridge-Nelson decomposition, the Hodrick-Prescott filter and others yield very different cycles which bears little resemblance to the NBER chronology, ascribes much movements to the trend leaving little to the cycles, and some imply a negative correlation between the noise to the cycle and the trend. We argue that these features are artifacts created by the neglect of the presence of a change in the slope of the trend function in real GDP in 1973. Once this is properly accounted for, the results show all methods to yield the same cycle with a trend that is non-stochastic except for a few periods around 1973. This cycle is more important in magnitude than previously reported, it accords very well with the NBER chronology and imply no correlation between the trend and cycle, since the former is non-stochastic. We propose a new approach to univariate trend-cycle decompositions using a generalized Unobserved Components models with errors having a mixture of Normals distribution for both the slope of the trend function and the cycle components. It can account endogenously for infrequent changes such as level shifts and change in slope, as well as different variances for expansions and recessions. It yields a decomposition that accords very well with common notions of the business cycles

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Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 with number 252.

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Date of creation: 11 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf5:252
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